Border Force Civil Penalties

25th May 2017

According to official figures, the number of illegal immigrants who were successfully smuggled into Britain on ferries has more than doubled in the past three years. Experts said that the true figures are likely to be significantly higher, as many illegal immigrants disappear after entering the UK and are never discovered by authorities. This obviously means that when the rewards are balanced against the risks involved, people are prepared to take their chances to make money.

When people have been brought into the UK, or the UK Immigration control zone in France (e.g. Calais or Dunkirk) without valid passports or visas, UK Border Force issue Civil Penalty Notices, these are also known as ‘Notice of Liability to a Penalty’ or ‘IS11 forms’. Both drivers and haulage companies are liable to have fines of up to £2000 per concealed migrant discovered, imposed upon them; consequently the cost can be significant. If the fine goes unpaid for 60 days the relevant vehicles can be impounded by Border Force until the outstanding fee is paid, with additional costs also being levied for the enforcement of this action.

As well as the illegal people trafficking taking place, the current migrant and refugee crisis means that it is not uncommon for illegal entrants to be transported by drivers inadvertently. If this happens then a challenge (appeal) to the Civil Penalty Notice can be made as long as the individual or company involved can demonstrate:

1. There are systems in place to actively manage the prevention of carrying illegal entrants

2. At the time of entry and discovery of the clandestine passengers, the systems were being applied as strictly as possible

3. Even though the systems were in place the individual was unaware and had no reason to suspect that there were illegal entrants concealed in their vehicle

If the points detailed above can be demonstrated, a Notice of Objection can be filed to challenge the penalty. When they receive the notice, Border Force will consider all aspects of the challenge and can then either continue to maintain the penalty, or alternatively, reduce the fine or decide to rescind it altogether. In the cases where the Border Force decide to maintain the fine the next step is to challenge this by way of an appeal to the County Court.

Peter Hastings and his team are well versed in the intricacies of dealing with UK Border Force and understand the systems involved to successfully challenge them.

Peter commented “A business is often in a state of shock at being accused of an act it and its employees have had no knowledge of and was doing its’s best to avoid – they need legal support and guidance quickly. The team’s experience of dealing with UK Border Force and our ability to act promptly is crucial. We can then make credible and decisive proposals, to help the client, based on the understanding we have of how the agency works and what they are trying to achieve”.

If you have issues with Border Force relating to the discovery of illegal entrants or any other claims, or issues with HMRC including investigations, assessments and winding up and bankruptcy petitions, then please do not hesitate to contact Peter and his team on 01603 675639 or email ph@rogers-norton.co.uk.